India’s Sensitive Index (Sensex) fell for a second day, paced by Hindustan Lever Ltd. after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings below analysts’ forecasts.
“Sales growth has disappointed especially in a booming economy,” Mumbai-based analyst Vandana Luthra at Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients today. Merrill Lynch reiterated its “sell” rating on the stock.
Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s biggest mobile-phone company, rose on a newspaper report that the government may lower the fees it levies on phone companies to help the industry expand.
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 64.89, or 0.5 %, to 14,188.49. The measure earlier rose as much as 0.4 %.
The S&P/CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange slid 10.75, or 0.3 %, to 4096.20.
Hindustan Lever fell Rs4.15, or 2.1 %, to 195.5, extending yesterday’s 2.7 % decline. Income before one-off gains and charges rose 10 % to Rs4.83 billion, the company said yesterday. That’s lower than the 4.98 billion rupee median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Sales of Pond’s and Fair & Lovely skin creams, which account for about 26 % of the company’s revenue, slowed in the quarter as warmer temperatures in winter hurt sales, the company said yesterday.
In a note to clients today, Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd., the No.2 ranked local brokerage in the Asiamoney polls last year, cut its earnings estimates and price target on the stock after the earnings. It reduced its earnings per share estimate for 2007 by 5.7 %, to 8.2 rupees a share and lowered its price target by 14 % to Rs240 a share.
Bharti, India’s biggest mobile-phone company, climbed Rs14.9, or 1.9 %, to 806.3. Among fees likely to be cut are license charges and cost of frequency bands, which is locally called spectrum, the newspaper said.
Overseas investors bought a net Rs2.2 billion worth of stocks on 19 February, according to the latest information on the Securities & Exchange Board of India’s Web site.
The following shares rose or fell. Stock symbols are in brackets after company names.
Lupin Ltd. (LPC IN) rose 48.85 rupees, or 8.3 %, to 634.65. The drugmaker said it signed an agreement with Les Laboratoires Servier of France to sell some patent applications and other related intellectual property for blood pressure drug perindopril.
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (RBXY IN) fell 13 rupees, or 3.3 %, to 382.5. India’s biggest drugmaker said its owners won’t sell either a part of their stake or the company’s shares in the U.S. to fund the purchase of the generic-drug unit of Germany’s Merck KGaA.